Recipe of the Week: Butternut Squash Soup

Editor’s Note: Chef Randy’s column regularly runs on Wednesdays.  However, with the upcoming holiday, and all the cooking we’ll be doing, including Chef Randy, we are running this wonderful recipe on Sunday. You’ll have plenty of time to add it to your festive menu for Thanksgiving day. 

Photo Credit: Randolph Graham

Chef Randy: What is the difference between a stew and a soup? Stews are thicker and chunkier and could, if you want, be described as really thick soups. Stews often are thickened with potatoes and most always served hot. The liquid in a stew is minimal to the point of being more a gravy than a broth. In reality, a stew is usually considered a main dish and soup a first course.

Make this vegan soup first thing in the morning and it will be ready to reheat for dinner that night. Squeezing a little lemon juice into it just before eating gives this soup a unique flavor that I think you will like.



1 pound uncooked butternut squash

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion (sliced thin)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup dried chickpeas

1 teaspoon salt

2 quarts vegetable broth

1 tablespoon Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base

6 to 8 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves

Lemon wedges (to squeeze on the soup when served)



Plug in your slow cooker and set the heat to high.

Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Peel squash and cut into 1½ inch cubes. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft – about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute more. Stir in ½ cup broth and scrape the bottom to deglaze the pan. Transfer the contents to a slow cooker.

Add the chickpeas, squash, salt, broth, and bouillon to the slow cooker. Gently stir, cover, and cook for 4 hours.

Just before serving, lift the lid and stir in the spinach leaves. Cover and continue cooking 10 more minutes more on high. Spoon the soup into bowls and serve with a plate of lemon wedges on the side.

Ojai Valley Slow Cooker Cookbook, is now available online at Amazon for $14.95. In addition, I will have two local book signings as follows:

Eat well. Eat local. Eat Fresh! – Chef Randy

Chef Randy has been a vegetarian for over 40 years and eats local and organic grain, fresh fruit, and vegetables as much as possible. He is known locally as the “Healthy Chef.” His column, Chef Randy, is syndicated in California newspapers. See his website at for more recipes.

Visit his author’s page on Amazon for culinary inspiration!  



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